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Fiji:Uncertain future for justice and human rights

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

13 July 2000

AI Index ASA 18/007/2000


News Service Nr. 138

News Flash

Fiji

Uncertain future for justice and human rights

Human rights in Fiji and the integrity of the justice system still remain at serious risk of further abuses, Amnesty International said today as Fiji celebrates the release of hostages from Parliament.

"A far-reaching amnesty promised to anyone connected with the coup has already encouraged widespread lawlessness and bodes ill for the future of justice and human rights in Fiji," Amnesty International added.

"Impunity for all 'political' offenders is not a recipe for reconciliation. Experience shows that peace will not last without justice nor can there be justice without human rights for all."

Amnesty International is particularly concerned about attempts by coup supporters to re-interpret human rights standards, suggesting that indigenous and groups rights could override fundamental principles of human rights which are recognized internationally.

"We call on those responsible for shaping Fiji's political future to respect the fundamental principle that all human rights apply equally to all people," Amnesty International said. "Violence and hostage-taking cannot be an acceptable means of achieving equality in the enjoyment of human rights."

The human rights organization called on the international community to continue monitoring closely developments in Fiji and to consider their responses according to international standards and principles.

ENDS.../

Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street,

WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom

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